Russian historians search for sunk US wartime bomber

By IANS/RIA Novosti,

Moscow: Russian history enthusiasts are searching for the wreckage of an American-made bomber which crashed into the Yenisei river in Siberia during a delivery flight in World War II.

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The aircraft — Douglas A-20 light bomber — was lost in 1943. It was one of the 8,000 planes sent to Russia by the US via the Russian Far East and Siberia as part of the Lend-Lease programme of military assistance to then USSR during the war.

The A-20 was a three-man light bomber that served with the Royal Air Force, US Army Air Forces and Soviet Air Force, which operated around 3,000 of them. The aircraft was highly regarded by Soviet pilots, who knew it as the Boston.

“The plane crashed into the water by the railway bridge,” Reserve Air Force Col. Vyacheslav Filippov said. “The crew of four was killed. There is no information about the Boston being raised after the crash.

“Divers have already searched for it, but so far have found nothing. In recent years, the waters of the Yenisei have receded, and the aircraft should now be close to the bank.”

An agreement was signed between the wartime allies – Britain, the US and the then USSR – in fall 1941 on the delivery of combat aircraft to Russia.

A series of 26 airfields were built across eastern Russia to accept aircraft. At least 87 American aircrew died during the delivery flights.